This post is Article #2 of a series featuring Dorcas Olatunji, a first-year Economics and Business Administration student.
I was born in Queens, New York but grew up in New Castle, Delaware. My hometown is within a state with under a million people and a place that is mostly highway than anything. Growing up there in a family of seven, I have fond memories of Nascar adventures at the Dover Stadium and Bob Evan Valentine’s Days. I am the middle child of 5 kids, with three sisters and one brother. I have an identical twin, who had been on every adventure with me except junior year summers and our college choices. She is 306.4 miles away, all the time. My life before college was mainly a lot of academic work and honor societies, attending pitching and networking events, and driving constantly. Now that I’m in college, I balance my social life/friend groups, being away from home and family, walking everywhere, and curating my Northeastern experience.
The transition from home to school was challenging the first semester, especially with the global pandemic raging. My parents and I grappled with the possibilities of a remote college experience as the deadlines approached, but I knew that being in person would be the best way for me to learn and grow. I got to my residence hall, Smith Hall, a week before the other residents because my older sister who goes here had an early time slot for moving in. She’s also in D’Amore McKim, studying Finance. After the moving excitement, there was a lot of energy around convocation (opening addresses from academic schools and welcome from the university) and orientation week. I knew the Class of 2024 was missing the hallmark of a freshman experience, but Northeastern did their best with the COVID-19 guidelines and protocols. Instead of a candle-light ceremony at Matthews Arena, we had a drone show over Carter Field. All of the events were virtual, including the infamous Fall Fest, fall classes, and club meetings. Zoom University became a reality. The hardest parts of the semester were navigating a virtual/in-person (hybrid if you will) social scene, understanding and orienting to new business courses like Accounting, and living with a stranger. Over time, an additional problem of time management came up, from creating alone time to finding the right balance of on-campus involvement.
Having a number of things “taken away” from COVID my senior year, I was no stranger to feeling disappointed and disconnected from my college experience in the early parts of the semester. The toughest college part of the COVID-semester was quarantining last semester. That experience combined with having an incompatible living situation made for a lot of frustration. My biggest takeaway from residence living as a whole would be to do your research on the Facebook/GroupMe channels. I did not realize how much your living space affects your mental health, and would not recommend opting for the random selection process. As restrictions eased up throughout the semester, however, I did enjoy hanging out with floormate friends, from dance parties to late-night talks. Even now, visiting friends in other dorms is a great and surreal experience.
There are a few places I will go into more depth in future pieces, but I know that overall Northeastern was the best fit for me. I wrestled with that statement for a bit of time, but I am truly excited by the possibilities here and the communities I am a part of. Northeastern has so many incredible people, it often feels like there is not enough time to interact with all of them. I am also glad to have had some incredible professors that have helped me along my academic journey. From my communities within SGA, TAMID, HAN, and the Fellows, I have shared laughs with friends, colleagues, and mentors. This second semester was a lot smoother than my first semester, especially with having a better sense of navigating the numerous opportunities here, managing my time across all spheres of life, and having an appreciation for the vibrant city of Boston. Holistically, I am so glad I chose a place like Northeastern, although it may have its’ ups and downs, I know my experiences will continue to teach me how to be the best version of myself.